'Their support and experience in this field is crucial' 

If young researchers find your project attractive, you can be sure: you are working on an important issue for future.

Ms. Carlotta Ferraro, graduate student of Politecnico Milano prepared her master thesis "Circular water management: co-design process towards the development of action plans" on the CWC project, focusing on the Core Master Training methodology. She discussed the thesis on April 28, and achieved her Master in Civil Engineering for risk mitigation with the vote of 110 and praise.

City Water Circles project interviewed her about the thesis, motivations and recommendations for local communities.

Ms. Carlotta Ferraro

Ms. Carlotta Ferraro

 What is in the scope of your thesis?
Design a procedure that brings to the co-development with stakeholders of the key elements and strategies on which to base the Action Plan, in line with the principles of circular water management identified by the CWC project. In other words, create a method to deal with the complexity inherent in the water system in order to find shared and agreed solutions with stakeholders.

Why did you decided to research this topic? Do you have personal motivation to deal with the issue?
The water sector has always aroused me a lot of interest and it is the one that has fascinated me most among all those faced during my studies. Water is an important resource that should be protected and preserved.

How do you see, what are the main challenges in the future in urban water management, in Central Europe?
I think that with climate change there will be more and more opposing situations that will alternate in Europe, varying from periods of drought to periods with more abundance, therefore a correct management of resources will be necessary through careful planning and circular use of water.

What does it mean in practice: co-design of Action Plans? How can we imagine the process?
It is the creation of Action Plans for circular water use with stakeholders, they cooperate to find common solutions. It basically consists of a decisional participatory process during which stakeholders negotiate to find an agreement about which solutions or measures should be implemented in order to reach the circular water management in their own context.

What are the main findings of your thesis? How can communities benefit from co-design?
It is an important meeting point between municipalities’ authority and stakeholders, to give voice to the latter too and to consider stakeholders perspectives. It is also important to highlight that one of the reasons to involve stakeholders in a problem such as circular water management is that if the stakeholders do not collaborate it is difficult to foster circularity in the water management, their support and experience in this field is crucial. There are many actors involved and if everyone does not carry out his own task, there is the risk of creating gaps in the management leading to a wrongful circular water planning.

In reality the problem is complex, and it is difficult to find real solutions but the co-desing is really important to create cooperation and a share knowledge and language for stakeholders and in order to understand which possible solutions could be better in the context under study.

What can you recommend for community leaders if they want to make and keep their cities resilient and sustainable? 

  • Reduce losses in the water supply network
  • Rainwater harvesting and reuse for non-potable purposes
  • Public water conservation campaigns

These are some key points on which they should invest resources.